Background and Context

These resources will help students develop a thorough understanding of Energy & Environment and make connections between historical events, current conversations, and current policy proposals surrounding the issue. This section includes all of the context and content previously included in Close Up’s public policy chapters.  


U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy in Historical Context

How has U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy changed throughout our history? Learn More >

U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy in Current Context

What is the current U.S. Energy and Environmental Policy? Learn More >

Climate Change

Available for Middle & High School

How should the United States work to combat climate change? Learn More >

Current Issue Debates

Current Issue Debates are framed by a central question and followed by historical context, an overview of both sides of the topic, and discussion questions to facilitate deliberation in the classroom.


Climate Resilience

Available for Middle & High School

Should the federal government provide funds for local governments to respond to the effects of climate change? Learn More >

The Green New Deal

Available for Middle & High School

Should legislators prioritize environmental justice when confronting climate change? Learn More >

Nuclear Power

Available for Middle & High School

Should the United States encourage the development of nuclear power? Learn More >

Videos from Policy Makers

Brought to you by ASP HOMEROOM, through a collaboration between Close Up Foundation and A Starting Point, these supplemental videos are an introduction to policy areas that provide an opportunity for students to hear different perspectives directly from lawmakers.


Climate Change & Extreme Weather

Congressmen Sean Casten (D-IL) & Don Bacon (R-NE)
June 9, 2021

The Keystone XL Pipeline

Congressmen Dusty Johnson (R-SD) & Jared Huffman (D-CA)
February 2, 2021


Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) & Congressman David Rouzer (R-NC)
May 13, 2021

Lesson Plans

These ready-to-use lesson plans can be utilized in conjunction with any of our resources to enhance the quality of student discourse in the classroom. Our supplemental Civic Readiness Guide provides a recommended lesson plan sequence for using our Current Issues resources.


Additional & Archived Resources on Energy & Environment


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Unit 5: The Challenges of Power Teacher Guide

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) | August 20, 2021

Words of Ages Teacher’s Guide are designed to supplement your standard classroom history text while offering new, creative perspectives on the nation’s heritage.

Unit 1: A “New World”, A New Nation – Explorers and Early Settlers

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) | August 19, 2021

Captain John Smith and the English settlers who followed did not shed their attachments to Great Britain when they landed on North American shores.

Unit 1: A “New World”, A New Nation – The Search for a National Identity

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) |

Between the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, the United States began to forge a national identity.

Unit 1: A “New World”, A New Nation – Voices of a Revolution

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) |

The ideas behind the American Revolution—like many of the colonial era—trace back to Europe.

Unit 2: Nationalism and Sectionalism – A Confident Nation

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) |

After the War of 1812, Americans gained confidence and pride in their nation as a spirit of unity and nationalism strengthened the union.

Unit 2: Nationalism and Sectionalism – Slavery and the Abolition Movement

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) |

From the 1830s to the 1860s, the economic, political, and cultural chasms between the North and South deepened.

Unit 2: Nationalism and Sectionalism – Civil War and Reconstruction

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) |

By the middle of the 19th century, the nation had developed two distinct economies and identities.

Unit 3: Industrializing America – The Closing of the Frontier

Historical Perspective (ELA Unit) |

Just before the Civil War, writers all across the United States began telling stories about people and places they knew well.

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